Germany is looking to increase its investment in Pakistan’s energy sector, provided its companies are reassured about the security situation, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after their meeting in the German capital, Berlin..
Ms Merkel said Germany’s KfW state development bank was already involved in projects in Pakistan, including hydropower plants, but added that the security situation was sometimes a deterrent.
“We can look at intensifying these (investments), as long as the conditions are right. It is important that the prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) is successful in improving the security situation and the legal system so that investors feel safe,” she said, adding that the agricultural sector also offered opportunities.
Prime Minister Sharif urged German firms to invest in his country.
He said his country offered the most investor-friendly climate, adding:“Pakistan is facing an acute shortage of energy. We believe that over the next three years we will be able to have at least additional capacity of about 4,000-5,000 megawatts of electricity.”
Nawaz Sharif said German firms, some of them world leaders in renewable energy technology thanks to the country’s shift to green energy and away from nuclear power, were keen to invest.
Germany is Pakistan’s fourth biggest trading partner and the largest within the European Union, Mr Sharif said.
Bilateral trade totalled about 1.9 billion euros last year, with Pakistan selling mainly textiles, leather goods and basmati rice and Germany exporting predominantly chemical products, machines and vehicles to Pakistan.
Mr Sharif said Germany had pledged to improve its economic ties with Pakistan and cooperate in the energy sector.
“There is a lot of interest of German businessmen in Pakistan’s energy sector and the government is aggressively pursuing the policy of attracting foreign investors,” he added.
The prime minister said he and the German chancellor had held a productive meeting with special focus on bilateral relations. Both sides also exchanged views on regional and global issues.
He said Germany occupied a special place in Pakistan’s foreign policy and the two countries enjoyed traditionally warm and friendly ties.
“Pakistan offers the most investorfriendly climate when compared in the world today and German businessmen could benefit from it by participating in multiple sectors of our economy,” the prime minister said, adding that Pakistan’s energy sector in particular was lacking large investment.
He welcomed the German government’s decision to expand its vocational training programme, establish an energy forum in Lahore and cooperate in water disaster management.
He said the scourge of terrorism continued to haunt the world and Pakistan was still paying a forbiddingly heavy price in fighting this menace. He expressed the confidence that Pakistan would soon succeed in defeating this menace.
The prime minister said both countries had agreed to strengthen their ongoing engagement in the field of counter-terrorism and to continue their collaboration in higher education.
He said that in the long run Pakistan should have an additional 10,000MW of electricity and Chancellor Merkel had been very helpful and supportive in the power sector. He also invited Ms Merkel to visit Pakistan.
Chancellor Merkel said the two sides had discussed bilateral, regional and international issues, including Afghanistan. Germany wanted to expand its ties with Pakistan, she added.
The Prime Minister Sharif also met Prof Dr Norbert Lammert, President of Bundestag (German Parliament) and discussed with him bilateral issues.
The prime minister informed him about the efforts being made to strengthen democratic institutions in Pakistan and said regular interactions between the parliamentarians of both countries would strengthen these institutions. In this context, he added, a friendship group for Pakistan in the German parliament was needed.
Prof Lammert expressed his desire for the deepening of relations between the parliaments of the two countries and recalled his visit to Pakistan in May 2014.